A new, international panel of experts has studied the most recent evidence on mammograms to screen for breast cancer and says they do the most good for women in their 50s and 60s. The new advice gives a global perspective, coming from 29 cancer experts from 16 countries, convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. As treatments improve, the value of tests to find the disease early shrinks.
- The international group wanted to update its last advice, from 2002, taking treatment improvements into account.
- Who should get mammograms and when has long been debated, especially since 2009, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said women should be screened every two years starting at age 50, and that doing so before then does little good and is a personal choice.
- Mammograms give many false alarms, leading to unnecessary and costly follow-up tests.